If you are facing harassment charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense in your case and make sure that your legal rights are protected. Without a criminal defense attorney, you are solely responsible for your defense—this means that you must conduct hearings, communicate with prosecutors, and make sure that all filing deadlines are met in your case. The legal process is confusing and complex; thus, it is best to trust the guidance and expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What do harassment laws in Texas say?
Harassment includes a range of actions in Texas.
The law is laid out in Texas Penal Code Section 42.07.
Harassment charges may be proper if someone acts intentionally in a way that harasses, annoys, embarrasses, torments, or alarms another, specifically, if that person:
- Initiates communication with someone and makes an obscene statement;
- Threatens to hurt someone or commit a felony against someone (or a member of the victim’s family or household) or someone’s property;
- Knowingly conveys a false report that someone else has died or has been seriously injured;
- Repeatedly calls someone else on the phone;
- Makes a phone call and intentionally hangs up;
- Knowingly allows someone else to use a phone to commit a harassment offence;
- Repeatedly sends communications to someone
Obscene is defined as an offensive description or solicitation to engage in a sex act.
An individual may be convicted of a harassment charge if a number of methods of communication were used—such as instant messaging, text messaging, phone calls, Facebook messaging, electronic mail, facsimile, and similar methods.
Are there defenses to harassment charges?
For harassment charges, the prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the only conclusion a jury would be able to draw, after reviewing the evidence in the case, is that the accused did commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove every element in the case, the charges must be reduced or dismissed.
Criminal defense attorneys review the evidence in a case to determine what defenses are available for the accused. These attorneys will gather witness statements, police reports, photographs, and other pieces of evidence to weaken the prosecution’s arguments.
In a harassment case, the prosecution must prove that the accused actually had the intent to harass the victim. If the accused did not have the intent to harass the victim, harassment charges are not proper. For example, perhaps the accused made numerous phone calls to the victim because there was an emergency.
In addition, individuals may be charged with harassment if they knowingly allow someone else to use their telephone to harass someone else. If the accused can prove that he or she did not know that the individual would act in a harassing manner, the charges may be dismissed.
Additionally, there must be proof of the harassment. If the prosecution cannot provide valid copies of text messages or emails or show evidence that calls were made to the victim, the accused may be able to argue that harassment charges should be dropped.
With the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, those accused of harassment will be able to present defenses and ensure that their rights are protected.
If you need a criminal defense attorney, call the Hampton Eppes Law Group
Brian Eppes spent much of his legal career as a Texas prosecutor and knows what must be proved in a harassment case. To schedule your free consultation with our firm, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.